In Fitness and in Health: Healthy Spouse, Healthy You

Physical activity in one spouse may encourage the other to get moving, too

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) If you want your spouse to get in better shape, try lacing up your own shoes and heading to the gym. Your husband or wife may be quick to follow.

A recent study found that when one spouse’s fitness regimen improved, his or her counterpart was more likely to start working out, too.

“When it comes to physical fitness, the best peer pressure to get moving could be coming from the person who sits across from you at the breakfast table,” said lead study author Laura K. Cobb, doctoral student at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, in a press statement.

This study involved more than 3,200 married couples.

Cobb and team measured levels of physical activity at the start of the study. They assessed fitness levels again after about six years.

They found that if one spouse improved his or her exercise habits, the other spouse was more likely to do the same.

Among husbands who were not active at the start of this study, those with active wives were 70 percent more likely to become active than those with inactive wives.

"This study tells us that one spouse could have a really positive impact on the other when it comes to staying fit and healthy for the long haul," Cobb added.

This study was presented March 5 at the American Heart Association’s EPI/Lifestyle 2015 Scientific Sessions in Baltimore. Research presented at conferences may not have been peer-reviewed.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded this research. The authors did not disclose conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
March 6, 2015
Last Updated:
March 11, 2015